Was moving away unfair to daughter or justified?

Dear Annie: We recently moved from our home of 20 years to a neighboring state that is two hours away by car. Our children are 21 and 19. We had set our sights on moving to this community several years ago, but we waited until our son had graduated from high school. Ever since we moved here 10 months ago, our daughter has been miserable, saying we ripped her away from her home and friends, implying that we were selfish for moving before she graduates from college and is able to live on her own back in her home state.

We live in a highly rated community with wonderful amenities, and we plan to retire here. Our community is not age-restricted, but the age of its full-time residents does skew toward the older side, so I do sympathize with her that making new friends can be challenging, especially since she is only here for summer and holiday breaks. Also, the area outside our community is fairly rural, whereas our former home was in the suburbs, where shops and restaurants were more plentiful and accessible.

Here are some of the reasons we moved: The tax savings were significant; we prefer the weather; it’s less congested; and we love the benefits this community offers.

But I’m beginning to question whether we were selfish for moving when we did rather than waiting until our kids are able to live on their own. Should this really have been more of a whole-family decision? — Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Dear Whose Life Is It Anyway: The short answer is that it is your life. But as you know, once you are a parent, your life and happiness often revolves around your children’s lives. Even college-aged children do thrive when their home lives are predictable and stable. So, it is understandable that your daughter is feeling the way she feels. Try and be sympathetic to her, and maybe make a week or so vacation in your old hometown each summer so she gets to see her old friends.

Dear Annie: Here are some comments about the mother and grandmother wanting a closer relationship with her daughters-in-law:

As you have written, not every combination of people results in a good friendship. Even some friendships may not last forever.

The young ladies are married to her sons, not to her. Having a good relationship with your mother-in-law is a plus, but it is not required.

My wife and I raised only sons. As each became engaged, I welcomed the young ladies to the family. I read decades ago in an advice column that “in-law” sounds too much like “outlaw” and emphasizes the “outsiderness” of a person. I told each one that I would avoid referring to them as my “daughter-in-law.” Instead, I told them they are my daughters and are as much a part of the family and loved as much by myself and my wife as the three boys we raised.

In return, I invited them to call my wife and me “Mom” and “Dad,” which they do. And as a plus, we have frequent communications and good relationships with all our children and grandchildren. — An Old-Fashioned Dad

Dear Old-Fashioned Dad: Thank you for your letter. You started your relationship with your new daughters on the right foot — welcoming them with open arms as new members of your family. It is no surprise that your “old-fashioned” approach is working.

(Lane is a columnist with Creators Syndicate.)


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